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Farewell to Luperon
04/28/2012

Time to move on. I am rested and ready for new horizons once again. I've fixed the engine cooling system and starter, the wind generator and electrical charging system, the autopilot, the bilge pump and a few other things. And I've slept many many happy hours, without pitching or rolling or worrying.

There's a long stretch of coastline ahead of me before I jump into the dreaded Mona Passage for the crossing to Puerto Rico. I may stop and do some exploring or I may just blast along. I feel somewhat guilty to not have really seen this country, but I need to get somewhere I can find work as an American, and that means Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

Art Wall
04/24/2012

A great day and a good counterpoint to Luperon, which is not such a happening place aside from all the cruisers and expats. Santiago was a taste of what I'm sure lies over many of these mountains, if I had the time to really explore. Alas, eastern isles beckon.

Mangos
04/24/2012

Ben and Pamela with a nice score - a bag of fresh mangos for about a buck.

Hairbrushingness
04/24/2012

As for me, I found a hairbrush, which was bliss after months of sand and salt in the scalp.

Monkey Heaven
04/24/2012

George found his bounty too, and it was all I could do to get him to out of there.

Local Fruit
04/24/2012

Jerry struck a hard deal with the local fruit vendors, and we took back some real bounty.

Monument
04/24/2012

Papo promised a giant monument, and for some reason we took him to mean that it would be a chicken. But it was actually a tall monolith with a statue, commemorating the restoraccion, which I take to mean the restoration of the country. There were a lot of statues, but the elevator to the top was broken. Great views of the city and surrounding mountains though.

Electricity
04/24/2012

Can you imagine trying to sort out this mess when the power goes out ?

Mighty Trucks
04/24/2012

Everywhere are trucks loaded with the bounty of the land. Overloaded, actually. They blast along on the roads and you'd better watch out, because they don't know the meaning of the word YIELD.

Countryside
04/24/2012

The Dominican Republic is a very green country, and the lush vegetation on the mountains is a welcome sight after the relatively flat and barren lands I've been through the last four months. Agriculture is the biggest business here.

Roadtrip to Santiago
04/24/2012

I met some awesome folks here in Luperon, and we took a road trip to Santiago. Ben and Pamela and Pam's father Jerry are all from Minnesota, here on a nice Hans Christian. Super interesting folks, and they were nice enough to invite me along on their little sojourn. We hired Papo, a local who has a nice car and speaks quite excellent English. Here we are in Santiago.

Escuela de Vela
04/23/2012

There is a local sailing school for island kids. I helped out for a day, launching the boats, towing them out to open water and watching to make sure they didn't end up in the mangroves, or sailing for Florida. It was the usual chaos of herding cats - and totally fun. Probably one of the only really positive things going on for kids on the island. I've been told the regular schools are a joke, meeting for only an hour or two a day, when they have class at all. But everywhere I've ever seen them, those little bathtub boats (Optimists) bring smiles and opportunity to young mariners.

Progress
04/22/2012

Everywhere I've been, in Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and now here in the DR, there are unfinished construction projects. Lots of them. From hotels and resorts and marinas down to shops and homes and shacks, there is no shortage of foundations and block walls. I'm not sure if they all got shut down after the 2008 financial crisis, or if starts are common, and completions rare.

Securite
04/22/2012

This is the wall of the school. Most places have barbed wire and steel bars over the windows. Concrete block is the building material of choice. Lots of litter. Dogs roaming the streets, piles of garbage in vacant lots. Sad, because the country is so pretty in its natural form. I lock the boat every day.

General Luperon
04/22/2012

Like all Latin American countries, they are very proud of past military accomplishments here in the Dominican Republic. This statue stands proudly in the town square (which is actually a triangle).

Steve's Daughters
04/20/2012

The help at Steve's is pretty good too, and bilingual as a bonus. The younger is Coral and she is 3. The older is Stephanie and she is 6, and kicked my butt playing billiards. I wish I could have gotten a picture of them in the kitchen, peeling potatoes.

Steve's Place
04/20/2012

Lots of options for cheap food and internet, but I like Steve's Place the best. He was a cruiser years ago, who landed here, met a local girl and never looked back. For $ 3 you can have a nice meal. Smoothies made by his wife Annie are $ 1.40. It's shady and set up and back from the street, which is noisy and dusty. And they have a nice clean pool in back, which you can use free. Super nice folks.

Two Bucks a Day
04/19/2012

The harbor here is very tranquil. Lots of boats, some occupied and some left for the summer. The harbor guys even come out to your boat to see if you need anything. Easy to see why some boaters never leave. $ 2 a day for a mooring ball, instead of the $ 20 I had to pay in Turks and Caicos just to tie up the dinghy for a few hours. I thought it was funny that the daily rate was $ 2, or the weekly rate $ 15. I pay by the day :)

All Is Well
04/18/2012

You're looking at a happy camper. Luperon has been good so far. First thing I did was go to a doctor to have him look at my ears, which have been problematic for a month or so. They didn't have the right equipment here, so I had to go to Puerto Plata, to a big hospital. I just walked in, pointed to my ears and sat down to wait. 20 minutes later I was being examined, another 20 minutes to clean them out, $ 60 for the visit and I left. They even gave me the tool they used, so I can do it myself next time. The pharmacy was next door, and they filled the prescription for the drops, even gave me extra. No one ever asked my name, my insurance info, my HMO, my political leanings, drug test, urine sample ... Funny how a country as backwards as the DR is so much better for public health.

Luperon
04/16/2012

I made it to Luperon ! The Dominican Republic is green and mountainous, with lots of rainshowers. I'm moored in a nice calm protected bay which is very close to the town. Everything is super cheap. The people are friendly and there are lots of cruisers. There's wi fi and ice cream and a big free dinghy dock.

The trip across was 21 hours of mostly easy winds and seas. I took short catnaps of 20 minutes or so through the night. It was weird to wake up in total darkness, only the iPad to tell me where I was.

About half way across the bilge alarm went off and would not stop. Water was filling faster than the pump could keep up, and it self-destructed. The heat exchanger boot had split and seawater was spraying the engine compartment. Not good. I turned off the engine and drifted under sail. Tore everything out of the lazarette and quarter berth for access. And performed the same hanging upside down repair Chris and I did in Provo, removing the heat exchanger and replacing the boots. Only this time I was by myself, it was dark and the boat was bobbing around the Atlantic Ocean. Did I mention I was exhausted ? I don't like doing anything strenuous after my bedtime ...

Then the autopilot broke yet again. I thought that had been fixed in Provo too, but this time the whole feedback arm bent into a pretzel. So the boat is sailing into the wind, then falling off, then turning on the waves, all while I try to hammer the connecting rod straight, reattach it and recalibrate the AP. Very frustrating.

But I made it ! The camera is also broken, so I will try to take pictures with the iPad, then email them to myself, import them into iPhoto, resize and attach to the sailblog. Here's the first attempt : a mural on the main drag, showing the harbor.

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